It’s been a couple of weeks now since Avi Misra released his latest album Usha. Ever since it first dropped we haven’t stopped listening. We’ve been scanning it over, listening carefully to each track, because with each listen something new emerges.
The album is a wonderful tapestry of sounds, so we caught up with Misra himself for a track-by-track rundown of Usha.
Fresh off the release of his incredible new album Usha, we caught up with Avi Misra for an extensive rundown of the album’s three acts.
We are living through one of the most significant revolutions in human history. The Information Age is a tumultuous time to be alive. Gargantuan binary walls of race, nationality, gender, religion and market are blown away every second with some rogue atom of data that on a whim assumes supernal force. Polarisation is real. Identity has never been more important, neither has free will.
With this zeitgeist in mind, I present to you Usha. A search for identity set in two cities separated by 5000 years; 21st Century AD New Delhi and 3000 BC Indraprastha. The 3rd and final album in the Delhi Trilogy that includes Eyes On The Radio and New Delhi Blues, Usha is a poetic narrative in three acts.
Searching For Indraprastha: A guitar instrumental that captures the feeling of searching for your roots. The picture is that of a child who is mesmerised by their history lessons on ancient civilisations and goes looking for earthen artefacts in the streets of New Delhi.
Toxic City: New Delhi has officially been classified as a ‘toxic’ city, with air pollution levels that are hazardous to human health. Dynamic and layered, in this city where one suffers to breathe, live some of the most interesting characters scripting the most heroic love stories.
Old Bombay (Scene 1): The lovers with their rose-tinted glasses walk hand in hand through the charmed saxophone art deco streets of Old Bombay. The photograph is that shade of a joyous black and white, that exists only in old albums.
Old Bombay (Scene 2): The picture then begins to shift tones into darker and darker hues until the blood of a Bollywood murder scene seeps out.
Age of Kali: The flickering of television channels. Rampant delusional dictators, hyper-paranoid news anchors, vain photoshopped human mannequins, Roman gladiators and martyrs disguised as sportsmen and saints. And in the real world, melting polar ice caps.
Eulogy: In slow motion; an infant is crying, a couch potato asphyxiates on junk food and a car salesman beams a plastic smile, as all around them fire rages on. Comatose has set in, the hypnosis is deep.
Ocean: There’s a strange calm as city after city is submerged under water. The neon billboards still glow, the bridges still stand and scenes from a life are playing on a giant screen. It’s silent. When slow and distant, ancient sacred mantras can be heard – like concentric circles, growing in intensity.
Usha: Waking up to conscious life again from a crazy dream. The different shades of the night sky can be seen. With the gong of a split second, the sun comes out and Usha the Vedic goddess of dawn reveals her glorious golden form.
Raja of Indraprastha: Our ancestors are always here within us, their stories give us strength while Usha the goddess of dawn, symbolising the many undreamt miracles of tomorrow, shines the light. ‘I am the Raja Of Indraprastha’ though there is no ‘I’ and there is no ‘Indraprastha’. The show goes on…
Words by Avi Misra.